Iowa State will meet Memphis



AMES — Following an offseason filled with turmoil, Iowa State is headed to Memphis to close out the season.

The Cyclones will face Memphis in the 65th AutoZone Liberty Bowl on Friday, Dec. 29. Kickoff from Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium is set for 2:30 p.m. and the game will air live on ESPN.

Iowa State (7-5 overall) finished fourth in the Big 12 Conference despite losing its starting quarterback and several others prior to the start of the season.

“I would say on behalf of myself, our program and certainly our staff and our kids we couldn’t be more grateful to be part of this great bowl game,” ISU head coach Matt Campbell said. “As I just got done talking to our leadership group, one of the absolute great experiences in bowl season we have ever had is being part of the Liberty Bowl. It’s a great honor for ourself to be able to be back, certainly have the upmost respect for Memphis and their program and the season they have had.

“Know it will be not only a great football environment, but certainly a great challenge as well. It should be a great football game.

Sophomore Rocco Becht came on as the leader of the offense, throwing for almost 2,700 yards while completing 64 percent of his passes with 20 touchdowns. Abu Sama III, a true freshman who led Southeast Polk to the Class 5A state title last year, has 610 yards rushing and is coming off a 16-carry, 276-yard, 3-touchdown performance in a 42-35 win at Kansas State to conclude the year.

The Cyclones won five of their last seven around losses to Texas, who won the conference title and advanced to the College Football Playoff, and Kansas.

Memphis (9-3) went 6-2 in the American Athletic Conference and placed fourth. They closed the year winning five of six, scoring over 40 points in all five games.

Seth Henigan has thrown for 3,519 yards with 28 touchdowns for the Tigers, as Blake Watson has 1,045 yards rushing and 14 TDs. Roc Taylor is the leading receiver with 981 yards.

This is a rematch of the 2017 Liberty Bowl, which the Cyclones won, 21-20.